A Closer Look at the GrowZone Players Spring Musical 2018

The GrowZone Players are our troupe of actors.  Students in 5th-8th grades have the opportunity each year to choose the drama elective and, as such, audition for roles in the annual fall one-act play and the spring musical.

In Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder!, the Hamilton museum opened an exhibit entitled, “Monsters, Murderers, and Madmen.” Professor Johann Vanderveer invited world renowned Egyptologist Dirk Carlton to speak about his recent trip to Egypt and the discoveries he made concerning the ancient Tomb of Menkaura. However, during the presentation, something went awry and someone ended up dead. It was up to Lt. Dani Morrow to crack the case.

This play was appropriate for all ages with hilarious comedy and toe-tapping songs throughout.  Some audience members even got a chance to accuse characters in an attempt to discover the truth.

In addition to the perplexing mystery, there was a live exhibit from the display of Monsters, Murderers, and Madmen both before the show and during the intermission.  At intermission of the Friday, May 4th show, North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, read some of his poetry and sang a few songs.

The musical was laugh-out-loud funny, well performed and pure entertainment for all in attendance.

The ever growing and changing list of members of our GrowZone Player troupe never cease to amaze audiences with their performances. They manage to take a script and bring it to life in a skilled and professional manner far exceeding their individual ages.

Be sure to take every opportunity to see the GrowZone Players’ productions. They are not to be missed!

All About Bugs in 2nd Grade

Second grade teacher at The Learning Center Charter School, Stephanie Hopper, wrapped up a cross curricular unit on insects with her class earlier this month. Found online, Eddie the Entomologist sent the class friendly letters each day that included clues. Using the clues, the students then guessed what creature was the bug of the day.

Hopper was able to bridge the study of insects across all subjects in her class. In science, students learned about insect life cycles. Numerous books and interactive online reading texts were used by students for research and reading comprehension.  Plus, the daily letters from Eddie allowed the class to review and reinforce what they had previously learned about the composition of friendly letters.

In math, students used measurement standards to compare different types of insects as well as jumping distances.  Additionally, students put their STEM skills to use when tasked with designing and building their own insects.

Plus, these industrious second grade students wrote acrostic poems using descriptive words to describe insects, wrote a sequence paper on the life cycle of an insect, made terrariums with appropriate habitats for insects to live and did a drawing activity where they were guided, step-by-step to draw, label and color a realistic bumble bee and butterfly.

At the end of the all encompassing insect unit, students earned an “Entomologist Expert” badge from Eddie.

Hopper said, “These students could hardly wait each day to read the letter from Eddie and use the clues to figure out the bug of the day. Using their excitement about bugs across all of our studies engaged them thoroughly in each subject.”

3rd Grade Poetry Lounge

On April 6th, third graders at The Learning Center Charter School held their own Poetry Lounge.  Modeled after poetry readings where an open mic is available for anyone wanting to share original or dramatic readings of poems, the class enthusiastically enjoyed the event.

Students were given the option of performing a poem that they wrote themselves or read a poem of their choosing.  Topics ranged from wolves to dirt bikes, love poems, poems about video games, and concrete poems.

Third grade teacher, Kathleen Shook, introduced the Poetry Lounge idea as a way to reinforce lessons learned in language arts. However, she found ways to incorporate poetry both in math and art class. Plus, students got valuable practice in listening skills while their peers performed.

True to standard poetry reading etiquette, the class ended each performance with the classic “snapping” applause. The piece receiving the most “snaps” was probably Shel Silverstein’s self-performed version of “The Crocodile’s Toothache.”

Shook said, “Poetry is magical in that it has the power to make even the most reluctant reader become interested in reading.  The sing-song beats and humorous themes turn words into games instead of work.”

North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, Attended Annual Spring Musical

North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, read poems and sang songs as part of opening night intermission of the charter school’s annual spring musical on May 4, 2018.

Graced with the presence of poets, so it was at the opening night of Oh Horror! It’s Murder at The Learning Center Charter School on May 4. That’s because North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, attended and provided intermission entertainment.

Stephenson grew up on a farm in Benson, North Carolina and says that most of his poems are a product of that environment. He has written many poems about the farm, the foxhounds his father hunted and the streams, fields and trees of his childhood home. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and went on to study law at University of Pittsburgh and University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2001, the state of North Carolina awarded him the NC Award in Literature. He has gone on to receive the Bellday Poetry Prize, the Oscar Arnold Young Award, the Zoe Kincaid-Brockman Award, the Brockman-Campbell Award, the Bright Hill Press Chapbook Prize, and the Playwright’s Fund of North Carolina Chapbook Prize.

He has also produced a poetic documentary titled, Plankhouse as well as numerous books of poems including Middle Creek Poems, Carolina Shout!, The Persimmon Tree and Possum.  He and his wife, Linda, have also recorded four musical CDs.

Mary Ricketson and Joan Howard with Ridgeline Literary Alliance and North Carolina Writers Network-WEST accompanied Stephenson to the annual spring musical at the charter school.

Stephenson shared with the school’s Executive Director that during this year marking the 50th Anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council, what a pleasure it was to see firsthand that the arts are alive and well in the far west at The Learning Center Charter School.

The school will host Stephenson on its campus again in the fall as a guest assembly presenter.

3rd Grade Works With and Learns From High School Students in Heritage Project

High school students at Tri-County Early College High School (TCEC) work on large scale Project Based Learning (PBL) projects throughout each school year. During the third quarter of this school year, that large, school wide project was termed the “Hometown Heritage” project.

TCEC students worked individually or in groups with local residents who know skills, crafts or have specialized knowledge of our geographic area and cultural history. Students took up to ten weeks to plan, research and create their projects. In total, there were 47 different projects ranging in subject matter from natural remedies, Cherokee bow making, hide tanning, to canning, folk songs, weaving and more.

One group, seen here, focused their studies on Appalachian quilt making. In addition to learning about how to make a quilt, these high schoolers also learned about the necessity of quilts, supplies used in times of economic hardships and the social aspect quilt making encompassed.

An additional component of their project included finding a way to encourage young people in our community to become interested in our local heritage as well.

These TCEC students decided to present to our third graders about interesting things about our local heritage and asked each student to create their own quilt block representing something important to them and their unique heritage. Those quilt blocks were then sewn into a quilt and presented to the class.

The quilt is now a beautiful artifact of what the high school and elementary students learned and helped bridge the gap between older and younger generations. The quilt will ultimately be displayed permanently on campus.

Spring Musical THIS WEEKEND!

This weekend is the annual spring musical at The Learning Center Charter School located at 945 Conaheeta Street in Murphy.  The school’s drama troupe, the Grow Zone Players, is presenting Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder! On Friday, May 4th at 6:30pm, Saturday, May 5th at 6:30pm and Sunday, May 6th at 2:00pm.

In Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder!, the Hamilton museum has opened an exhibit entitled, “Monsters, Murderers, and Madmen.” Professor Johann Vanderveer has invited world renowned Egyptologist Dirk Carlton to speak about his recent trip to Egypt and the discoveries he made concerning the ancient Tomb of Menkaura. However, during the presentation, something goes awry and someone ends up dead. It is up to Lt. Dani Morrow to crack the case.

This play is appropriate for all ages with hilarious comedy and toe-tapping songs throughout.  Some audience members may get a chance to accuse characters in an attempt to discover the truth.

In addition to the perplexing mystery, there will be a live exhibit from the display of Monsters, Murderers, and Madmen for patrons to enjoy both before the show and during the intermission.  At intermission of the Saturday, May 5th show, North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, will read some of his poetry and discuss what goes into being Poet Laureate.

Tickets are on sale at the school and online at www.naturallygrownkids.org. Call 835-7240 for more information.

3rd Annual SCHOOL MAKER FAIRE Revisited

The Learning Center Charter School celebrated making of all kinds at our 3rd annual School Maker Faire on Thursday, March 15 from 3:30 – 7:30. Imagine a science fair, craft show, tech conference, and county fair, all rolled into one and you can picture a School Maker Faire.

Makers – from Learning Center students to community members – had booths featuring their own unique Maker project. There were hands-on activities, demonstrations, delicious homemade food and live music.

A special thank you to our wonderful community of Makers that made this event possible. The School Maker Faire proved to be an inspiring and educational evening for everyone who attended.

Students Venture to Franklin, NC to Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

In early March, students in kindergarten through second grade ventured out to Franklin, NC to see James and the Giant Peach at Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

Presented by the Overlook Theatre Company, James and the Giant Peach tells the story of James, a lonely, orphaned boy living with his two horrible and nasty aunts in a ramshackle house on the top of a high hill in the south of England. His aunts make James do all the cleaning and never let him away from the house to meet other children or make friends. But James’ luck starts to change when he meets a mysterious old man who hands him a magical gift. That gift will change his life and introduce James to some of the most unusual friends a young boy could ever have, leading to the most fantastical adventure one could only imagine! Told through the magic puppetry, eye-popping special effects and filled with lots of laughs, this classic story based on the work of Roald Dahl, will delight every dreamer of every age.